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Bonded Dogs Can’t Be Separated After Spending 14 Years in Same Shelter

Two dogs who have spent their entire lives in a shelter are hoping to spend their twilight years in a loving home after being repeatedly overlooked.

Erin and Anna both arrived separately to the Society for Animal Rescue & Adoption (SARA) in Seguin, Texas, over 10 years ago when they were less than 1 year old.

Now aged 15, the pair have become inseparable and shelter staff will never see one without the other closely following behind.

The shelter’s founder Tracy Frank told Newsweek: “Both dogs found each other several months ago and have struck up a deep bond of friendship.”

Erin and Anna
Erin (left) is a black Labrador mix and Anna a black-and-white border collie mix. The pair have been in the same shelter for around 14 years and have only just struck up a friendship.
Erin (left) is a black Labrador mix and Anna a black-and-white border collie mix. The pair have been in the same shelter for around 14 years and have only just struck up a friendship.
SARA Animal Shelter

She added: “They do everything together, from eating to sleeping to playing with other dogs at the sanctuary. Both Erin and Anna struggle with arthritis and are fearful of people, but have a warm and safe place at SARA.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.3 million companion animals who enter shelters nationwide every year, and around 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 65 percent are adopted and 13 percent are euthanized.

Owners are forced to give up their beloved pets for a number of reasons, such as poor health and lack of funds. Previously, Newsweek shared an article about a senior dog who was almost put down at an under-resourced shelter, but thankfully was saved by Austin Pets Alive! animal shelter. They went on to launch a “fospice” program—offering end-of-life care to animals in similar situations.

Though they are still available for adoption, Erin, a Labrador mix, and Anna, a border collie mix, Frank doesn’t believe they will ever find a place to call home because of their lack of trust in humans.

Frank told Newsweek: “They would need a patient and caring home without children or rambunctious young dogs. But I doubt anyone would want to adopt two scared dogs you can’t pet.”

While it may be hard for Frank to imagine the bonded duo lapping up love from strangers, it can indeed happen. Newsweek has shared many stories about dogs who required a lot of patience and perseverance from their new owners. It can take days, weeks, and even months for a dog to feel “safe,” but once it happens, many owners can confirm it is certainly worth it.

In 2018, a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science highlighted how just 15 minutes of petting affected a positive change in the well-being of shelter dogs.

As part of the experiment, researchers implanted cardiac monitors in 55 shelter dogs. Then, after being shown into small rooms, a volunteer petted them and spoke in a comforting voice.

By the end of the session, they noticed that the dogs’ heart rates had decreased and that their variability had increased, both of which suggested that the dogs had become more at ease.

Update 2/15/24, 4:13 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with a video of the dogs.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to life@newsweek.com with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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